Early in his career, Isaac Hayes was once referred to as the "Black Moses." Maybe it was due to his unique image or his capacity to make musical waves. More than likely, though, it was attributed to the distinctive stature of this legendary singer-songwriter who was a stalwart of the Stax sound, and its house band, and his groundbreaking approach to R&B. This collection represents the best of Hayes' years with Polydor in the '70s. "Don't Let Go," another classic oldie from the pen of Jesse Stone, became one of Hayes' biggest crossover hits - landing this re-do at No. 11 urban and No. 18 pop. Not too far behind it was "Zeke The Freak," with its disco backbeat and this maestro's typically well-orchestrated rhythm track causing "Zeke" to peak at No. 10 on the soul charts. Isaac Hayes has become an icon of sensual soul imagery...and a dozen of his best performances are right here for the taking.
Personnel: Isaac Hayes (vocals, piano, electric piano, programming, concert bells, triangle, finger cymbals, tambourine, vibraphone, xylophone, marimba, alto saxophone); Charles "Skip" Pitts, Kim Palumu, Otis Williams, Michael Toles (guitars); The Atlanta Horns And Strings, The Atlanta Brass (horns, strings); Bill Purse, Cedric Lawson, Travis Biggs, Jesse Butler, Marvell Thomas, Randy Waldman (keyboards); Willie Weeks, Derek Galbreith (bass); Willie Hall (drums); Daniel Zebulon, Glenn Davis (percussion).
Hot, Buttered & Soul Unlimited: Debra Carter, Diane Davis, Diane Evans, Pat Lewis, Rose Williams (background vocals).
Compilation producer: Harry Weigner.
Engineers: Joe Neil, Peter Mann, Ron Christopher.
Recorded at Master Sound Recording, Atlanta, Georgia and Eastern Sound Recording, Toronto, Ontario, Canada between 1977 and 1981. Includes liner notes by Harry Weigner.
Digitally remastered by Gary N. Mayo (Polygram Studios).
This is part of Polydor's Soul Essentials series.
Personnel: Isaac Hayes (vocals, alto saxophone, piano, electric piano, keyboards, vibraphone, marimba, xylophone, finger cymbals, tambourine, triangle, bells, background vocals); Charles "Skip" Pitts, Kim Palumu, Michael Toles, Otis Williams (guitar); Travis Biggs, Jesse Bitler, Cedric Lawson, Bill Purse, Marvell Thomas, Randy Waldman (keyboards); Willie Hall (drums); Glenn Davis , Daniel Ben Zebulon (percussion); Diane Evans, Diane Davis, Rose Williams, Debra Carter, Hot Buttered Soul Unlimited, Pat Lewis (background vocals).
Liner Note Author: Harry Weinger.
Recording information: Eastern Sound Recording, Toronto, Canada; Master Sound Recording, Atlanta, GA.
Photographers: Norman Seeff; Rick Diamond; Isaac Hayes; Keith Williamson; Tom Hill.
Isaac Hayes' stint with Polydor in the late '70s isn't always looked at as being one of his better eras. In fact, it's not looked upon highly at all by many of his fans. It's important to keep in mind, though, that Hayes had already seen enormous success and had released a sizable amount of legendary albums by the time the late '70s came around. In this respect, you really can't expect his later work to be on par with his classic early-'70s era with Stax -- no one could one-up albums like Shaft and Black Moses. Plus, the late '70s wasn't a kind era for any early-'70s soul icons as disco and funk moved black music from behind closed doors and into the clubs. Hayes had learned this the hard way during his short-lived mid-'70s run with ABC Records where he struggled to even chart, not to mention score a big hit. So when you really look at things from a wider view, sure, Hayes' Polydor years -- which began with New Horizon (1977) and ended with Lifetime Thing (1981) -- weren't on par with his Stax years, but they were still successful nonetheless. Hayes became more of a singles artist than an album artist as he had been with Stax. Because of this, it's perhaps best to seek out a best-of such as Best of Isaac Hayes: The Polydor Years rather than bother with his individual albums. This album collects 12 of his best moments from the era such as the somewhat notorious "Moonlight Lovin' (M‚nage … Trois)" and other disco-flavored songs like "Zeke the Freak" that may have not stormed up the charts but did fill the dancefloor on occasion. This collection provides the insight for fans about a difficult period in Hayes' career where he struggled to age gracefully and adjust to the jarring force of disco. It shows that contrary to popular belief, Hayes did find success during this era, even if it was only sporadic. ~ Jason Birchmeier